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Envious Of Ks

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I'm envious of Kansas because your debate community is so tight together and your cross-x forum is active...Missouri's is dead even though the debate-styles are similar (bid-like system and bad judges)

 

 

Wah makes me depressed.

 

That's all!

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The Missouri forum used to be wildly active. Kids in Missouri must have gotten less interesting.

I sadly agree. There are only 2-3 interesting teams that will surprise with new styles/arguments in each district

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I sadly agree. There are only 2-3 interesting teams that will surprise with new styles/arguments in each district

 

Kansas and Missouri used to be in the same forum with Nebraska (I think). They had to split the two states up on C-x because they really started going at each other and trolling each other and generally making coming to the boards unbearable.

 

Not completely relevant, but something of interest to note

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I'm envious of Kansas because your debate community is so tight together and your cross-x forum is active...Missouri's is dead even though the debate-styles are similar (bid-like system and bad judges)

 

 

Wah makes me depressed.

 

That's all!

 

 

To be honest, i actually envy Missouri. While i do value the close circle of the competitive schools in Kansas (many of whom i've made friends that have made my debate experience as great as it was), it seems like at the end of the day, my ability to debate is restricted. Missouri is (as far as i know) allowed to go to the TOC (again, correct me if i'm wrong). This means that Missouri debaters have the option to travel the circuit a lot more, and probably get to know people from other schools better nationally.

 

it also allows Missouri debaters a way out of the traditional style of debate that Kansas debaters are inevitably forced into, especially if they want to go to tournaments during the spring (Kansas doesn't allow debaters to attend more than 8 tournaments, and the spring ones are usually reserved for NFL, CFL, and TOC qualifiers). This ends up discouraging debaters from traveling the circuit, because that means less opportunities to qualify to regional tournaments like State and the DCI (Kansas' compensation for KSHAA's qualm with the TOC).

 

i think this is particularly harmful because frankly, i (as well as many others) like to participate in the competitive zeal of the national circuit-style of debate, which ends up being shut out for us. i don't think i would care much about the matter if i were able to just travel to tournaments like Iowa, KCKCC, Glennbrooks, Greenhill, and the TOC. frankly, i don't think there's anything wrong with the emphasis on persuasive speaking and presentation that is stressed in traditional debate, but when i no longer have space to engage in my form of debate, it does become rather frustrating (especially when i'm trying to prepare for policy debate in college).

 

the forensics categories whose participation mirrors that of policy debate is full of many activities whose entire purpose was to uphold the values that are consistently impressed upon me through more traditional styles (public forum was actually created to address the gap in debate styles in policy debate). i frequently engage in events like public forum, Lincoln-Douglas, Foreign Extemp, etc, and i really really enjoy the opportunity to fine-tune those skills involved with presentation and compete at that level. i just wish that i could engage in competitive debate at my discretion rather than someone else's.

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Missouri is (as far as i know) allowed to go to the TOC (again, correct me if i'm wrong). This means that Missouri debaters have the option to travel the circuit a lot more, and probably get to know people from other schools better nationally.

As far as I know, our travel restrictions have, in the past, prevented certain teams from attending the TOC and TOC-like tournaments. In general we can, but our coaching structure makes it impossible. There have been a few MO teams that have attended the TOC though.

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As far as I know, our travel restrictions have, in the past, prevented certain teams from attending the TOC and TOC-like tournaments. In general we can, but our coaching structure makes it impossible. There have been a few MO teams that have attended the TOC though.

 

that's too bad. but it seems to me that the restriction in addition to the close proximity of most of the competitive schools is the reason we all have closer debate relationships. We all go to the same tournaments and end up debating eachother a lot. we're also a big fan of the JDI for a summer camp.

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To be honest, i actually envy Missouri. While i do value the close circle of the competitive schools in Kansas (many of whom i've made friends that have made my debate experience as great as it was), it seems like at the end of the day, my ability to debate is restricted. Missouri is (as far as i know) allowed to go to the TOC (again, correct me if i'm wrong). This means that Missouri debaters have the option to travel the circuit a lot more, and probably get to know people from other schools better nationally.

 

it also allows Missouri debaters a way out of the traditional style of debate that Kansas debaters are inevitably forced into, especially if they want to go to tournaments during the spring (Kansas doesn't allow debaters to attend more than 8 tournaments, and the spring ones are usually reserved for NFL, CFL, and TOC qualifiers). This ends up discouraging debaters from traveling the circuit, because that means less opportunities to qualify to regional tournaments like State and the DCI (Kansas' compensation for KSHAA's qualm with the TOC).

 

i think this is particularly harmful because frankly, i (as well as many others) like to participate in the competitive zeal of the national circuit-style of debate, which ends up being shut out for us. i don't think i would care much about the matter if i were able to just travel to tournaments like Iowa, KCKCC, Glennbrooks, Greenhill, and the TOC. frankly, i don't think there's anything wrong with the emphasis on persuasive speaking and presentation that is stressed in traditional debate, but when i no longer have space to engage in my form of debate, it does become rather frustrating (especially when i'm trying to prepare for policy debate in college).

 

the forensics categories whose participation mirrors that of policy debate is full of many activities whose entire purpose was to uphold the values that are consistently impressed upon me through more traditional styles (public forum was actually created to address the gap in debate styles in policy debate). i frequently engage in events like public forum, Lincoln-Douglas, Foreign Extemp, etc, and i really really enjoy the opportunity to fine-tune those skills involved with presentation and compete at that level. i just wish that i could engage in competitive debate at my discretion rather than someone else's.

Wow! You are making some really flawed assumptions about what debate is like across state line! First of all, Missouri has a travel restriction just like Kansas does. There are very few schools in Missouri who travel outside of Missouri and only a handful that ever go to a single TOC bid tournament. The vast majority go to each other's invitationals just like in Kansas. You couldn't be more wrong about Missouri travelling more.

 

Also you are under a horribly flawed assumption that the greatest hurdle to travel is some kind of rule. The BIGGEST restriction is financial. Perhaps you've read something about how education is underfunded. If schools are having trouble paying for having classes for the fine arts, they sure in heck aren't going to be paying so 4 debate kids can travel to the East Coast to possibly earn a bid for a tournament that isn't even condoned. And don't turn this into TOC bashing, it isn't. The simple fact is travelling for debate is a luxury that most schools can't really afford.

 

You think there is less traditional debate in Missouri???????? WOW!!! i'm going to try to be nice and respectful and tell you that you can not possibly be more wrong. I don't know what experience you have debating in Missouri, but as someone who has coached debaters debating in Missouri and who's step daughter debated for Blue Springs South, let me assure you that the VAST MAJORITY of debaters in Missouri debate a much more traditional style than even in Kansas.

 

And I have no idea why you are bashing the tournament number restriction set in Kansas. This too is based on ignorance. Kansas has a 8 invitational restriction. That does not include regionals or state. Thus if you do regionals and state, you can do 10 policy debate tournaments. Then there are acceptions made for two national tournaments. If you qualify to one of them, you are allowed 2 prep tournaments in the Spring. That puts you to 13 policy tournaments. If you qualify for both, you can go to 14 policy tournaments. Oh, and Kansas splits the debate and forensics seasons. So you are allowed 8 forensics tournaments in which you can do LD/congress and PFD. Plus forensics state. So, if you are able to acheive every opportunity, you are looking at 23 tournaments to debate at. FURTHERMORE, other states also have a restriction, but that is for all events since they don't split the seasons. So they still net less tournaments than Kansas. I challenge anyone to find a state that allows for more participation in debate than the state of Kansas.

 

So just on the math you could go to 6 TOC tournaments in the Fall, NFL and CFL qualifiers, regionals and State. If you were good enough to qualify you could do 2 more TOC tournaments in the Spring plus do NFL and CFL. Plus you could do up to 8 forensics tournaments in the Spring. The fact that no coach in Kansas would put up with that is not an indict of the system, it is that perhaps coaches in Kansas don't share your zeal for national circuit tournaments and the TOC.

 

You could debate at Iowa, Glenbrooks, Greenhill, KCKCC, Westside, etc. The fact is there are plenty of opportunities for you to get "your style of debate". The truth is your schools budget is a much more limiting factor as it is for all other schools.

 

Oh, and some of the most successful debaters in college didn't exclusively travel the national circuit, so don't fool yourself to believe that you were disadvantaged. Ask the successful college debaters that came out of Kansas if tournaments like Waru, SME, Topeka, DCI, State, BVN, BV, and a whole host of other schools who run quality invitationals was beneficial to their ability to debate in college. Heck, read the threads on CX in which they praise debate in Kansas for preparing them.

 

I got news for you. Until you find yourself appointed as king of the world, you will have other people's choices limiting your own. Welcome to this experiment we call society. You don't get to do whatever would please you the most. There are financial and social restrictions on all of us. And the grass isn't greener in Missouri. They don't have unlimited budgets. The don't have coaches who will put up with the egos on kids who think they should be travelling to the East and West coast when there are quality tournaments within 30 minutes.

 

You feel frustrated that you didn't spend your debate career extensively traveling to seek out tournaments that molded to you? Imagine how frustrating it is to hear year after year that there is better debate going on just beyond the horizon and if you could just escape Kansas everything would be better. Especially when it is clear that students have zero perspective on what is going on over there.

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i'd like to preface my response by making clear a couple of points:

 

A) I do not consider myself a particularly better debater because of my choice in style

 

B ) I am not familiar with every policy regarding how every other state does their boundaries

 

C) As much as i personally disagree with the traditional style of arguments that are more common at the majority of Kansas tournaments, i fundamentally affirm the right of individual debaters to their style and respect the integrity and work put into developing them, regardless of their end goal.

 

With that being said, i'd like to thank everyone who has posted (and who will post after me) for their input. Now i'd like to address Mr. Volen's arguments and accusations:

 

 

1. State Line Difference

Wow! You are making some really flawed assumptions about what debate is like across state line! First of all, Missouri has a travel restriction just like Kansas does. There are very few schools in Missouri who travel outside of Missouri and only a handful that ever go to a single TOC bid tournament. The vast majority go to each other's invitationals just like in Kansas. You couldn't be more wrong about Missouri travelling more.

 

***As i stated when i made my post (and above in my overview), i realize that i'm probably (clearly) not an expert about the rules and regulations regarding each state. While i do acknowledge that your are right about Missouri having tournament restrictions, my argument still holds that they can A) still attend many national circuit tournaments and B ) still attend the TOC. even if they DO travel to local tournaments a lot, it's the opportunity to attend the most competitive national tournament in high school debate that is also the most representative of college debate.

 

 

 

2. Financial Restrictions

Also you are under a horribly flawed assumption that the greatest hurdle to travel is some kind of rule. The BIGGEST restriction is financial. Perhaps you've read something about how education is underfunded. If schools are having trouble paying for having classes for the fine arts, they sure in heck aren't going to be paying so 4 debate kids can travel to the East Coast to possibly earn a bid for a tournament that isn't even condoned. And don't turn this into TOC bashing, it isn't. The simple fact is travelling for debate is a luxury that most schools can't really afford.

 

I know that educational budgets are very tight, and it would be ignorant for me as a participant in academia to not acknowledge this. One affirmative case that i read this year discussed the economic repercussions of Brownback's recent tax cuts that have left a budget gap that the evidence indicates would lead to a cut in Kansas Education, but that is an argument for a different debate round. I didn't interpret this argument as TOC bashing, i just think your argument comes off as assuming two things about traveling that aren't true:

 

A) That no schools can travel frequently--even though i don't think that you think this, your argument doesn't acknowledge that there still are some schools who have the opportunity to travel. While you can call it elitist, i don't think it's the fault of the debate community. even if you think it is, my next argument pre-empts that response.

 

B ) That debaters won't pay for it individually--while i come from the privileged society that is Overland Park, i work a minimum wage job that i use to pay for things i want, this would include traveling for debate. Both keith and i enjoy the activity so much that we are willing to provide our own financial means to travel if we ever had the opportunity.

 

 

3. Traditional styles: Missouri vs Kansas

You think there is less traditional debate in Missouri???????? WOW!!! i'm going to try to be nice and respectful and tell you that you can not possibly be more wrong. I don't know what experience you have debating in Missouri, but as someone who has coached debaters debating in Missouri and who's step daughter debated for Blue Springs South, let me assure you that the VAST MAJORITY of debaters in Missouri debate a much more traditional style than even in Kansas.

 

My argument was not that Missouri is less traditional than Kansas, and i didn't imply that i've had any experience debating there. my argument is that because of school's abilities to travel and go to the TOC, that debaters get to decide which style is not just more comfortable, but more valuable for them. To some, this is fast pace, philosophical duels or politics DA debates, to others, it is a forum for persuasive discussion grounded in argumentation. My argument is that i don't get to pick between those and am ultimately locked into whatever the majority of Kansas wants stylistically, regardless of my desire. I respect both as foundations of education, but i think that the style of debate that i tend to prefer would be more peaceful and open to both styles in that the judging pool is less subjective in terms of what arguments and what styles of arguments will be listened to.

 

 

4. Tournament cap

And I have no idea why you are bashing the tournament number restriction set in Kansas. This too is based on ignorance. Kansas has a 8 invitational restriction. That does not include regionals or state. Thus if you do regionals and state, you can do 10 policy debate tournaments. Then there are acceptions made for two national tournaments. If you qualify to one of them, you are allowed 2 prep tournaments in the Spring. That puts you to 13 policy tournaments. If you qualify for both, you can go to 14 policy tournaments. Oh, and Kansas splits the debate and forensics seasons. So you are allowed 8 forensics tournaments in which you can do LD/congress and PFD. Plus forensics state. So, if you are able to acheive every opportunity, you are looking at 23 tournaments to debate at. FURTHERMORE, other states also have a restriction, but that is for all events since they don't split the seasons. So they still net less tournaments than Kansas. I challenge anyone to find a state that allows for more participation in debate than the state of Kansas.

 

So just on the math you could go to 6 TOC tournaments in the Fall, NFL and CFL qualifiers, regionals and State. If you were good enough to qualify you could do 2 more TOC tournaments in the Spring plus do NFL and CFL. Plus you could do up to 8 forensics tournaments in the Spring. The fact that no coach in Kansas would put up with that is not an indict of the system, it is that perhaps coaches in Kansas don't share your zeal for national circuit tournaments and the TOC.

 

You could debate at Iowa, Glenbrooks, Greenhill, KCKCC, Westside, etc. The fact is there are plenty of opportunities for you to get "your style of debate". The truth is your schools budget is a much more limiting factor as it is for all other schools.

 

I think this series of arguments drastically misrepresents the availability of attend-able tournaments.

 

First, my argument regarding the tournament cap applies exclusively to invitational tournaments specifically because not everyone qualifies. Not everyone qualifies to regionals or state, which means for many debaters, the cap is still set at 8.

 

Second, even those that do qualify to State and Regionals end up giving up tournament space to qualify to nationals (CFL and NFL), which means for debaters who want to engage in alternative styles of debate are now starting at 6 invitational tournaments (considering CFL and NFL qualifiers tend to be slower). DCI which is another tournament that requires qualification also takes up a tournament space, which puts competitive kansas teams at 5, considering DCI is more representative of the CFL qualifier style of debate.

 

Third, is that there ARE tournaments in Kansas that are more neutral to fast/alternative styles of debate, but they are few. Washburn Rural and SME happened to be the ones that i attended this year, both of which Keith and I were successful at. However, the judging pools at these tournaments are only so objective, and certain teams still end up getting either lay judges or traditional style judges, which inhibits their argumentative flexibility and choice. Regardless, if teams want to debate alternative styles LOCALLY, then that puts them at anywhere from roughly 1-3 national tournaments.

 

Fourth, forensics tournaments don't count. all of my arguments are specifically within the context of policy debate.

 

Fifth, you say "If were good enough to qualify could do 2 more TOC tournaments in the Spring plus do NFL and CFL. "--this argument makes a number of assumptions that prevent a simple and straight up response. the reason why this isn't a good justification for the cap can be seen by the annual criticism of NFL and CFL tournaments. Several empirical examples of unarguably good teams (BVW BY, BVW NM, and SME RT (who qualified at NFL last year, went to debate camp, and were out after a couple rounds at NFL and CFL, are just three examples off the top of my head) being unable to somehow qualify to tournaments like NFL, and frankly, keith and i (after making it to finals at Waru, winning SME, and breaking at both national tournaments we attended) were unable to qualify to CFL, despite our statistical success at very competitive tournaments. Your definition of "good" is subjective and unclear (besides me not being good enough, but i don't really care about that remark), and you don't get to count those 4 tournaments (2 TOC + NFL + CFL) because not every fast team that wants to debate non-traditional styles gets to attend those tournaments.

 

Sixth, even if they did, that's not a reason why there should be a limit put on how much individuals can compete. I think my answer to the budget deal was clear in my above post, so i won't waste anyone's time repeating myself.

 

5. Kansas Debaters can do well in college

Oh, and some of the most successful debaters in college didn't exclusively travel the national circuit, so don't fool yourself to believe that you were disadvantaged. Ask the successful college debaters that came out of Kansas if tournaments like Waru, SME, Topeka, DCI, State, BVN, BV, and a whole host of other schools who run quality invitationals was beneficial to their ability to debate in college. Heck, read the threads on CX in which they praise debate in Kansas for preparing them.

 

Again, i think you're misunderstanding my argument. While everything in this section of your argument IS TRUE, it still doesn't account for the fact that the national circuit tournaments are more representative of college debate, which means there's only a risk that debaters get better practice for college by being able to compete at these, as well as attend the TOC (where many colleges look to recruit as well).

 

 

6. The reason i made my post

I got news for you. Until you find yourself appointed as king of the world, you will have other people's choices limiting your own. Welcome to this experiment we call society. You don't get to do whatever would please you the most. There are financial and social restrictions on all of us. And the grass isn't greener in Missouri. They don't have unlimited budgets. The don't have coaches who will put up with the egos on kids who think they should be travelling to the East and West coast when there are quality tournaments within 30 minutes. You feel frustrated that you didn't spend your debate career extensively traveling to seek out tournaments that molded to you? Imagine how frustrating it is to hear year after year that there is better debate going on just beyond the horizon and if you could just escape Kansas everything would be better. Especially when it is clear that students have zero perspective on what is going on over there.

 

i'm never going to be king of the world. i probably won't be a debate coach or a member of the KSHAA organization. i don't know how debate will go for me in college, and the sun sets in the imaginative world of the debate world that we discuss. You criticize me for voicing discontent with a system that i find counter-productive to both my desires as a member of the debate community, and my education of the topics that make up debate for me. this is exactly the hegemonic approach to understanding debate and what debate should be for everyone that creates the frustration from these large-ego highschoolers who you constantly hear criticism from. you reduce my struggle into the infinitely regressive argument that there will always be restrictions--the reason why restrictions on debaters' abilities to express themselves and engage in more than one side of argumentation and understanding of the world is because power structures like the ones that you are telling me to submit to and accept are always telling people what the proper way to understand debate (and consequently the world, politics, and relationships with other people) is.

 

This, Mr. Volen, is why after investing 4 years of my life into an activity that has literally changed me as a person, i am frustrated. not because i have a large ego, not because i think my approach to debate is inherently superior, but because the debate that i pursue is one where i'm not judged before i walk into the room. there are different tournaments, different styles for everyone. i'm sure that many of the tournaments "30 minutes" away are just as life-changing for others as mine are for me, but they are not the same. it's no surprise that the severe difference in debate styles has resulted in the creation of additional debate events in the National Forensics League to cater to EVERYONE's desires (i.e. Public Forum, Lincolon Douglas, Student Congress, Mock Trial, etc). you do not get to tell me that i don't know what's going on "over there" when "over there" has been where i've been spending as much of my time as possible in the debate community (except Missouri, you do get to tell me that i have zero perspective on what is going on in Missouri, and i will humbly accept your superior knowledge of Missouri's forensics activities).

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1. State Line Difference


Your argument was that Missouri could travel more than Kansas (thus why you’d be jealous of MO). My point is that is flawed for two reasons: 1). They have travel restrictions equal or tighter than Kansas. 2) Even if they could travel more, they choose to travel less. You present as if there are a bunch of schools in Missouri travelling and going to the TOC tournament. That is just false. Perhaps 3 do.


Also, I disagree with your comment that the TOC tournament is the “most competitive†national tournament in high school debate and that it is also the “most representative†of college debate. Given that I don’t believe that you have ever attended the TOC tournament, I’m not sure what you are using to compare TOC to NFL, CFL, or college debate. If you are using the testimony of kids who prefer TOC to NFL or CFL, I think if you take a step back you can see that is a flawed method. And perhaps Scott Harris or Chief is saying that TOC is more indicative of college debate than NFL, CFL, or even debate in the state of Kansas, but short of that I’m not sure how you can make any reliable correlation of TOC and college debate.


2. Financial Restrictions


A) Oh no, I don’t assume that no school can travel frequently. I absolutely know that there are elitist programs that choose to budget their resources to travel and get more resources than the public schools in Kansas. It is the fault of the debate community to allow this to occur. I very much believe that schools choosing to dedicate resources for travel is destructive to the activity and the education of the students. There is definitely a correlation between areas where travel is the norm and decreased participation in the activity. This isn’t an argument that programs and coaches shouldn’t have the choice, but that they ought limit the choice based on an utilitarian framework. They can have a squad of 12 that travels a lot or a squad of 50 that travels a little. There are very few programs that are both large and do a lot of travelling, and those squads get much more money for debate than any public school in Kansas. If budgets were unlimited, that would be different, but given what the real budgets in Kansas must be, there would absolutely be a tradeoff between extensive travel and the number of kids that you can work with. Again, that doesn’t mean zero travel. That means being selective and wise about your choices.


B ) Okay, lets do some math. $75.00 a night for a reasonable hotel room. At minimum you need two hotel rooms, one for a single same gender team and one for the coach/sponsor. So that is $150 a night. TOC qualifying tournaments tend to be 3 days, so that is two nights, so $300. Vans that get 20 miles a gallon going 400 miles use 20 gallons of gas, so that is 40 gallons there and back. Plus driving around at the tournament site you can throw in another 10 gallons, making a total of 50 gallons. At $3.25 a gallon you are looking at $162.50 in gas. 3 lunches at $6 a piece and 3 dinners at $15 a piece and you are looking at $63 in food. Throw in the higher entry fee of $100 per team rather than Kansas’s $5. So that is $688.50 you and your partner have to come up with each time you go to a qualifier. And I’m being really conservative (I think there are head coaches who would say it costs more). I’m also assuming you aren’t talking about travelling to somewhere more than 400 miles away that would cost more in hotels (have to drive for more days) or would cost in airline tickets. This also assumes the school provides a van for free rather than needing to rent a vehicle.
Making minimum wage, you and your partner would have to work 55.86 hours each (after taking out only 15% for taxes) to cover that. Since you are going to school and debating extra curricular (and doing whatever other things you do with your time) I doubt you are working 40+ hours a week, so it would take at least 2 to 3 weeks of working and dedicating 100% of you money just to travel and pay for it yourself. And that assumes you have a paid coach/sponsor who wants to travel with you. Travelling is fun for the kids, it is work for the adults. I think the majority of coaches would say that your time and efforts are better spent competing locally for a fraction of the cost. I would say it is irresponsible for a coach to allow you to work extensively so that you could pay your own way to travel when there is a tournament that allows participation (albeit not the style you would choose) that is nearly free in the local community that would foster a stronger local community.
Oh, and since the debate season is about 16 weeks long, and you wouldn’t be working the weekends that you were debating, I’m thinking you can perhaps afford 4 tournaments, not the 8 that are allowed.
 

3. Traditional styles: Missouri vs Kansas


Debaters do not get to choose to travel just because the school may or may not have the ability. Coaches make that choice. And the coaches in MO are more philosophically traditional thus they would be less likely to support their kids travelling. Like many coaches in Kansas they don’t see the cost/benefit analysis coming in favor of something they don’t agree with in the first place. The fact that MO is traditional means even if they can travel they will choose not to. Having the right and choosing to use the right are two different things. Having the right and having the means are also two different things.


4. Tournament cap
 

1). Actually, if you don’t go to or qualify out of the NFL/CFL qualifiers, you still get 8 policy invitationals and 8 forensic invitationals for a total of 16. Also given that “qualifying†to policy state is only a .500 record at 4 cherry picked tournaments, pretty much anyone qualifies. And there is no qualifying to LD state.


2). Its your choice, or really your coach’s choice, on what in state tournaments you go to. Don’t want to go to NFL or CFL qualifiers because they are too slow for you, then that is your choice. You don’t have to go to DCI. My point is you can do the TOC style all you want, but there will be tradeoffs. There have been teams that have attempted to forgo everything in Kansas to maximize their TOC style opportunities.


3). Even if you believe that you can’t possibly maximize the number of national tournaments you go to, I’m not sure why attending 3 national tournaments, DCI, State, NFL Qualifier, CFL Qualifier, WaRu, and SME would be a bad season. Are you arguing that every single round must be in front of the kind of judge you like? Are you saying you should never have to debate any style but the one you prefer? Even if you are saying yes to both of these questions, you could still make the sacrifices and go to 8 TOC style tournaments. Going to the CFL qualifier may reduce you down to 7 for the gamble of picking up 2 or 3 more, but that is a choice.


And you say the judges were “only so objectiveâ€. Perhaps, just perhaps, arguments that require the utmost objectivity are bad arguments. Perhaps if the arguments require someone with zero personality they are unreasonable arguments that we ought not artificially create an environment for just so high school students can test the limits of what people will listen to. I’m just saying that if you are struggling that hard to find anyone who will listen to the argument that you have conceived, maybe the issue isn’t with all of these “unobjective†people and more with the approach to attempt to be persuasive with arguments that such an extremely small number of people would ever find persuasive.


4). Why don’t forensics tournaments count? You even said the LD and PFD were valuable events. Why would we only count policy tournaments uniquely? Heck, to debate the philosophical stuff that you are so eager to argue in TOC style tournaments, LD is uniquely better equipped. And TOC has a LD tournament.
 

5). You keep blurring the lines between equating “fast†teams and “good†teams. Yes, qualifying at NFL and CFL is very tough. As a “reward†you get more opportunities. I’m not attempting to count “fast tournamentsâ€. I pointing out the number of opportunities kids can have. You are arguing that there are few opportunities for a specific style. My argument is that if you make some choices and have some success at the right place you have more opportunities.


I think you’ll acknowledge that success at one tournament does not equate to success at another. Otherwise we’d just have one tournament. You deserve congratulations on the successes you had. If you had more success at CFL you would have had more opportunities. Your successes did not come at that tournament, but that isn’t an indict of that tournament or and indict of your season. There is another thread with a poll of where you’d most like to be successful. If your goal is to maximize the number of TOC style tournaments you get to attend, then I’d guess the NFL and/or CFL qualifier is where you’d like the most success. And if that doesn’t happen, well you may not get to reach the maximum number of TOC style tournaments, but you can still have a season to be proud of which you have demonstrated.


6). Both KSHSAA and your school administration would disagree. As much as debate is highly educational, for a student to be over-dedicated to the activity risks taking away from school and other activities. That is why there is a season rather than doing it all year. That is why there are any limits on participation in any activity. Debate currently has the longest season of any activity in high school. The educators have come to the conclusion that 8 invitationals allows for a good about of participation without any lose to school work. Could you personally have attended 14+ tournaments and still had a 4.0 GPA? Sure. But they don’t set policy based on individuals, they have to set it on what they think is best for the entire population.


5. Kansas Debaters can do well in college


As I said before, I don’t know where you are coming up with warrants for this. Kids at debate camp are not the best sources to shape your opinion about the TOC tournament. There have been plenty of kids who have been both recruited and successful in college who did not attend the TOC tournament, so it isn’t unique to college success.
And there is a risk of being less successful by being exclusive to a single style. I’ll argue that kids who adapt to multiple styles rather than only debating one style will be more successful in college. I’ve had former debate students who found success in college tell me that providing a balanced education best prepared them for college debate. Thus going to a few TOC style tournaments is valuable, but going to the TOC tournament is not a unique experience and going to only TOC style tournaments would actually turn the advantage and make you less prepared for success in college.


6. The reason i made my post


A very good argument on your part. The voice of change needs to be expressed. You may not believe it, but I’m glad you speak up. I think you miss my underlying point. If you want to change debate, if you want to change the restrictions, you need to have the perspective of the hegemon and be persuasive in making the change. You need to see and understand what the goals are and how the different competing priorities shape the debate. To say that you want to travel more without understanding why that is not prioritized means your argumentation can never be persuasive. You can’t influence change by being critical of the choices of others without understanding their choices. When you argue only from your own perspective, and not the perspective of administrators, teachers, coaches, parents, and taxpayers you only get the perspective of one of the several stakeholders. Since each stakeholder has a different priority, you can not hope to be successful without listening to the other sides. If you were king, you wouldn’t need to care about other perspectives. And there isn’t anywhere, MO or elsewhere, that only bases their debate program’s choices based on the wishes of high school debate students. It is frustrating that super intelligent kids continue to make the same arguments for more travel and more TOC style without taking into account any of the perspective and other priorities that go into what actually leads to the compromise that is our current reality. Its frustrating that in the face of everything that students still believe that all the other stakeholders are wrong and the choices they make are wrong if for no other reason than they are different than what the student would like to do.


I hope when you look back you see that those 4 years you invested in debate were worth it even if you had to debate a style that you didn’t prefer. I’ve invested about 16 years in debate. I too was disappointed in my first 4 because I too wanted to debate only in front of judges who didn’t judge me before I walked in the room. I too wanted a specific style and wanted only to play the intellectual game. I accidently developed skills and understanding that has done more for me in life than any intellectual game I ever played. And so for the remaining 12 years in debate I have attempted to pay it back with varying degrees of success. I’ve made the same sacrifices that so many other coaches have made to be away from my wife, dogs, friends and family to attempt to give hundreds of kids the experiences that will make them better people. To accomplish that I’ve travelled to TOC style tournaments, volunteered to go to nationals, and used up 50% of my vacation time to sponsor kids at local tournaments. I’ve coached kids to run kritiks and significance/harms. I see value in each style of debate and try to give students a little bit of it all.


Please forgive me if I get a bit emotional when I hear students tell me they are doing it better somewhere else. Perhaps it is my competitive nature. Perhaps it is my pride in both Kansas and the local debate community. Perhaps it is my reflection of the sacrifices that me and others make to provide all the opportunities that we think are best for the students. I had some jerk-like qualities in my response. Hopefully you can see it comes from a perspective that I don’t think you’ve included in your calculations and thus why we’re having this little debate in the first place.

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Because of my schedule, i don't have time to respond to most of the content of your post, but i will make that response shortly.

 

while your first post came off a little aggressive, i didn't see it as without a reason. while i tend to come out on the other side of the coin on many of the debates regarding style, judging, and Kansas in general, it still comforts me that the aim of both of us is to create a better debate environment. perhaps my post was somewhat aggressive and passionate, and while i do hold strong criticism of debate, i do want to recognize the sacrifice and commitment that coaches like you frequently make. i'm going to make time to respond adequately. as much as i will make arguments in favor of reform, i realize that the positive aspects of my debate experience (which have been enough to make me want to continue in college and hopefully coach one day), would be non-existent without the dedication to debate (and debaters) from coaches. and for that, i thank them.

 

now before i respond, i want to repeat (for the sake of clarity) a couple primary points of my posts:

 

1. All of my criticism is regarding the traveling restrictions to the TOC are exclusive to Kansas and policy debate

 

2. I don't consider other states to be "doing it better", my frustration comes purely from my inability to debate 

 

3. traditional debate styles are important, and exist in many forums, but i don't think adequate space is allowed for the more progressive styles (examples being: speed, kritik debate, intensive line-by-line arguments, etc).

 

i'll most likely be able to get back to this sometime this evening or tomorrow (most likely the latter). I still disagree with a lot of your arguments, but my debates/discussions with you, whether it be disclosure or Kansas debate, have been some of my most productive.

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Also you are under a horribly flawed assumption that the greatest hurdle to travel is some kind of rule. The BIGGEST restriction is financial. Perhaps you've read something about how education is underfunded. If schools are having trouble paying for having classes for the fine arts, they sure in heck aren't going to be paying so 4 debate kids can travel to the East Coast to possibly earn a bid for a tournament that isn't even condoned. And don't turn this into TOC bashing, it isn't. The simple fact is travelling for debate is a luxury that most schools can't really afford.

 

Nonsense. Financial difficulty is an enormous barrier to debating at the TOC, yes, but to suggest it's the biggest in the face of an explicit restriction that forbids competition at the TOC which would limit the opportunity even of programs well financed enough to attend is asinine.

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Nonsense. Financial difficulty is an enormous barrier to debating at the TOC, yes, but to suggest it's the biggest in the face of an explicit restriction that forbids competition at the TOC which would limit the opportunity even of programs well financed enough to attend is asinine.

 

There's no such thing as "financial difficulty" when you have TCox managing your fundraisers.

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I’m largely weary of venturing into the realm of Crossx again after a few years hiatus, but am giving in against my better judgment.

 

Preempting it up front, I have zero intentions of engaging in a long back and forth argument that requires answering questions/accusation based on quoteboxes that are likely taken out of context.   Of the many things Volen taught me while I debated at SMW, the adage of never expect to win a land war in Asia is obviously about arguments about the state of Kansas high school debate on crossx.com. 

 

That being said, I think this forum is a good tool to help facilitate conversations that may otherwise not happen or otherwise might limit who is able to participate in these discussions.

 

Creating more opportunities for students to debate (both in terms of participation numbers and tournament opportunities), regardless of preferred style, is probably a good thing.  As much as some people may deplore KSHAA, their active (sometimes over) involvement is part of the reason KS has an absurdly active debate community, both in numbers and participation.  Limiting tournaments to Friday/Saturday, travel restrictions, etc. means more students can debate without having to sacrifice other academic/extracurricular commitments—debate doesn’t have to be ‘all or nothing’ like it has to be in some other circuits.

 

That being said, I think there’s a pretty strong case to be made that for many debaters, debate is more than just another activity to add to their college application.  Even if it’s not the majority, there are a growing number of debaters who want to debate in college. Debating in college can provide needed scholarship money, a geographically diverse social circle that many regular students don’t get to experience, networking for grad school/internships/jobs, in addition to pedagogical benefits such as research and speaking skills/time management etc. 

Just to make it clear, I in no way think people who decide not to debate in college are less worthy or are ‘wasting space’ competing in college, nor that it means they will not succeed in life. 

 

Volen and others are correct to point out there have been successful college debaters from KS, and the number is increasingly growing due to the success of debaters like Gottleib, Parkinson, Rubaie, Baker, Sarah, list of KU debaters, etc.   However, there are ways that KS high school debate could be altered that would make this process way easier.  Fun fact, there are very few, if any, college programs in the country that will turn down a debater.  The real question is a) scholarship money and B) how much attention are you going to get your first year or two.  The importance of scholarship money should be obvious.  Amount of attention may seem petty, but getting coaching immediately because you’ve been recognized as someone with potential might mean the difference between just being a card cutter for your first year or two on larger squads with limited budgets or getting to travel immediately, getting more travel opportunism, receiving focused coaching that will fast track your competitive success, etc. 

 

Obviously the current system doesn’t make anything impossible, but changes would greatly improve KS high school debaters’ odds at achieving some of these things.  Scholarship money and attention are inherently competitive and finite. KS debaters often have to compete with national circuit kids, and this is a fact of life regardless of how bratty you think they are.  Most programs have you fill out a separate ‘application’ for scholarship money and also helps them preview you as a debater.  Tournament results, speaker awards, etc are the main component.   Current limitations put KS debaters at a disadvantage—

  1. Kansas is a bubble.  Even if you’re the most successful team in KS, winning big tournaments like WaRu, SME, DCI, etc, it doesn’t often translate to colleges outside KS/MO, especially if they do not already have a debater on the team that can provide contextual information.  After sending many emails during my application process explaining DCI as “the TOC of KS hs debate,†I still felt it was inadequate because there are many misperceptions of KS hs debate. Although the secret is out about KS debaters being sick, its leaking very slowly and still doesn’t resolve—
  2. Its comparing apples to oranges.  Even if programs recognize the importance of DCI, they have no way to compare it to the other applicants who may have been in the quarters of Harvard.  Everyone knows being in the quarters of Harvard, Wake, etc is impressive.  Its much harder to quantify what being 5-2 at DCI means. 
  3. There are limited head to head comparisons.  Debating at the same tournaments as other applicants provides direct comparison—did you do better than them, etc.  Even if you’ve never debated them or been to the same tournament, attending the same sets of tournaments creates other modes for comparison.  For example, you may be consistently beating Random schools top team on the reg and the other application is 1-3 against them.
  4. Networking—limited number of tournaments and lack of geographic diversity means you are unlikely to have coaches/debaters from prospective schools watch you debate, so the sheet of paper you give them is functionally they only way they can determine your success. 
  5. Preempting the “you can attend national circuit tournaments now†argument that will inevitably be a response.  Yes, but you are incredibly limited in that number if you want to also compete locally.  State, DCI, NFL/CFL are easily 4 (or maybe 3, I can’t remember if state counts, sorry).  You probably want a tournament or two in KS so you can learn to adapt to the sytles necessary to be successful every else.  That’s 2.  All of the sudden you’re left with two tournaments, which means if you just have a bad tournament at Iowa, your numbers look like a hot mess.

 

Sure, college programs could figure out a different system or should recognize the inherent (not necessarily bad) limitations of KS debate.  But many programs don’t (not because they’re malicious) and it won’t necessarily change immediately. 

 

Even if the current system doesn’t make it impossible, if debating in college is seen as valuable (which does not appear to be the meta question of most related discussions), and there is a way to help those students without harming the larger activity,  I strongly encourage everyone to think about helping those kids out. 

 

General thoughts to inevitable responses

 

“Regional Debate = Awesomeâ€

  1. Yes, I agree, even if it took me a few years to appreciate what I learned from debating in front of lay judges at local tournament. 
  2. Circuit style debate also has its benefits
  3. I’ve never understood why ‘regional’ and ‘circuit’ styles of debate (for the lack of better terms) are poised as being zero sum.  Providing more opportunities for travel and/or more tournaments does not mean everyone has to try to qualify for the TOC.  There are also functional limits—many students simply don’t want to engage in circuit style debate, those who do also need to attend regional tournaments in order to qualify for State/DCI, attend CFL/NFL qualifiers, etc.  Empirics also seem to disprove this.  King and Volen created a lot of conditions for Leigha and I to travel to the Glenbrook’s first semester.  For example, we had to attend regional tournaments we may have normally skipped (like SMN which was very very ‘lay’).  Our second extra semester tournaments were split between TOC bid tournaments and Joplin or Marquette (more proof there is nothing redeeming about slave states).   Fortunately for Leigha and I, we had coaches who had a much better understanding of how the world works than we did. 

 

“Every high school activity has a limited seasonâ€

  1. Yes, this is true.  The difference is the majority of these activities can be pursued outside of the dedicated HS season if necessary, or if participants want to be more competitive.  For example, my sister is going through the recruiting process to play D1 basketball.  While she has received some attention because of her school team, the majority of her success (both with recruiting and as a player) has been because she plays year round on a private team.   More time = more skills and more opportunities.  There is no way to replicate this currently with debate as far as I’m aware.
  2. Forensics doesn’t resolve any of this.  Yes, forensics is valuable.  I personally hated it with a passion and public speaking still makes me want to throw up.  But it doesn’t provide you the same skill set as debate, nor does it translate into participating in debate when you are filling out scholarship forms for the squad you want to be on.

 

“Limited number of tournaments are goodâ€

  1. Yes, and I don’t think the solution is to get rid of all the rules, or even getting completely rid of the travel restrictions. But overlimiting is bad (see everything above).
  2. Possible solutions may exist that still preserve what makes KS debate awesome.  For example, maybe state and DCI could not count towards the 8 tournament limit.  Or the 3 extra tournament rule second semester could apply to all teams.  This seems to help preserve the forensics season while also providing debaters interested in college debate more opportunities to compete outside of KS without having to sacrifice regional tournaments.  Also resolves the issue that Kansas consistently has a large top shelf of teams who inevitably will not make it out of districts because of numbers, but still desire/deserve to compete more. These ideas are obviously limited, but perhaps could prompt a discussion of potential solutions (or why these are not solutions at all).

 

This ended up being way longer than I thought, so I’m going to end it here.  These are merely my ramblings and not representative of any one else, etc etc.  I hope no one takes offense to anything said.  I fully recognize my debate experience in KS during high school was invaluable and am fully appreciative. 

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This has happened to me more times than I want to admit.  It is both a joy and heartbreak when former students proof that they are both more intelligent and better debaters than I ever was.

 

I imagine that the recruiting process can be very frustrating coming from Kansas.  I think this is true for a lot of aspects, not just debate.  I know that football players from Kansas get less attention than football players from Texas, Ohio, etc.  You may be the best right tackle or strong safety in the nation, but if your team goes 2-6 and is from Kansas then not even KU will likely offer you a scholarship.  Especially if your coach is unfamilar with the recruitment process and no one is helping to get your name out.  Its probably less so in individual activities like track or swimming, but without reliable, on par metrics it is hard to compare student competitors from two different regions.

 

I think the same goes for later in life too.  Its no secret that a there are more opportunites for high wages on the East and West coast.  And HR recruiters from companies there are going to be more familiar and value degrees from schools there then here.  There probably isn't much of an educational difference between going to Penn State or KU (depends on the area of study of course), but it may mean a different for the recruiter.  Its even worse for private schools or smaller schools.  How would a Wall Street recruiter evaluate a MBA from Baker versus Temple?  How does an equal degree from Wichita State stack versus a small state school in Washington or Oregan for a software developer?

 

I think we fix these inequalities through educating the system.  I think we need to brag about our successes here so regional bias can be broken down and people see that there is amazing quality and education coming out of the midwest, not just on the coasts.  That debaters, football players, and college gratuates are just as good, and sometimes better, than those who come from the more popular areas of the county.  I guess I'm saying we don't need to change who we are to match what they expect, we need to change their expectations to acknowledge how good we are.  We do that by acknowledging and broadcasting what we are doing right rather than trying to be just like they are.  Perhaps that is just my pride in being a Jayhawk through and through, but that's my thought.

 

Mel, the only thing I could really take issue with is your characterization that forensics doesn't count.  Okay, so perhaps performing in HI or Poetry won't do a whole lot to increase your chances in college policy debate.  I'll grant that.  But even if it is diminished, college debate still involves speaking.  So developing speech organization skills by doing informative, or working on persuasive speaking through oration is valuable even for college debaters.  Nevermind LD being a clear breeding ground for kritik debaters and extemp doing wonders for developing skills in keeping up on the most current events.

 

Because I don't want to risk the humiliation of being crushed by my former student, I'll leave it at that.  I will say though it is a source of pride to see my former students be so successful and I'm glad they are able to show me up from time to time.

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Mel, the only thing I could really take issue with is your characterization that forensics doesn't count.  Okay, so perhaps performing in HI or Poetry won't do a whole lot to increase your chances in college policy debate.  I'll grant that.  But even if it is diminished, college debate still involves speaking.  So developing speech organization skills by doing informative, or working on persuasive speaking through oration is valuable even for college debaters.  Nevermind LD being a clear breeding ground for kritik debaters and extemp doing wonders for developing skills in keeping up on the most current events.

 

Because I don't want to risk the humiliation of being crushed by my former student, I'll leave it at that.  I will say though it is a source of pride to see my former students be so successful and I'm glad they are able to show me up from time to time.

 

I won't hassle you about it either. frankly, there are too many sub-topics that we're getting into to reasonably expect a quick reply. I think the only thing i will say is that while the purpose of LD is philosophy, the way it plays out is in stark contrast to the nature of the kritiks read in policy debate, again, due to judging in Kansas. glad to see fellow Kansans engaging in discussion to make a better debate environment. I'll end my posts on this thread here as well.

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Realizing my post may have come off as "there is nothing left to debate/no point"-- just meant that I have a busy schedule and don't have the time (or necessarily desire) to stay super engaged. 

 

Volen-- you're right that calling forensics useless was flippant of me.  PFD, LD, extemp and the other debate events do provide skills that translate over into policy (even its not direct) in addition to being valuable for other reasons. 

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